Virtual Gujo Hachiman
The interactive 360 degree panoramas on this page are part of a project to create a virtual tour of all the tourist sites throughout the town of Gujo Hachiman Japan and the surrounding area. Each point on the large map corresponds to an interactive 360 degree panorama and a small map next to each picture will help you locate exactly where the panorama was taken.
The numbered pointers on the larger maps correspond to the numbered panoramas below. So scroll down and begin your virtual tour of Gujo Hachiman!
A high-speed broadband or cable internet connection is strongly recommended since each panorama is approximately 1MB in size.
Last Updated: July 2009
Note: If you're not able to see an interactive panorama when the viewer window opens, make sure you have the latest version of the free Adobe Flash player installed.
Water is everywhere in Gujo Hachiman and some might even say that water is the lifeblood of this town.
So Gi Sui
Sogi Sui water spring is the site where fifteenth century poet Sogi and local feudal lord To Tsuneyori exchanged farewell poems when the poet returned to Kyoto after visiting Gujo Hachiman. The water spring and small shrine are recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Environment for both ecological and historical significance.
Small Canal Street Water Platform
Some streets are flanked by a canal. This panorama was taken inside one of several platforms build over this canal which is fed by the Yoshida River. These small platforms are used by locals throughout the year for washing vegetables and household items. When looking around this panorama be sure to look down into the water to see the large colourful coi fish.
Historic Yanagi Machi
This panorama was taken in front of a very well preserved Edo period house. There are several similar houses, many of which belonged to samurai in old times, along this street. Yanagi Machi is also flanked by a small fast running canal. Built originally for fire fighting, the canals are used today by locals mostly to wash vegetables and household items.
You can see a number of old style streets throughout Gujo Hachiman. Traditionally similar businesses were concentrated in one street, and streets were named after the type of businesses that could be found in the street e.g. Sakanamachi was traditionally the fish sellers street, while Shokuninmachi was traditionally the craftsman street. Streets were also named to designate areas of the city such as government offices e.g. Tonomachi, while other streets were named after significant features e.g. Osaka Machi in the present day entertainment district was so named because many craftsmen from Osaka originally settled in this this street.
Yanaka Komichi in front of Yudokan Museum
This small street runs south from Shin Machi. It has a small stream running alongside the street that acts as a small oasis in the summer. At the top of Yanaka Komichi you will find the Yudokan Museum, together with the Saito Tea Ceremony Museum, and the Omodakaya Folk Craft Museum.
Yanaka Komichi Middle
This panorama is taken from the the middle of Yanaka Komichi, a small street with a stream running alongside it.
Historic Shokunin Machi (Craftsman Street) in front of Cho Kyo Ji
One of several well preserved historic streets in Gujo Hachiman. Visitors interested in old style architecture should make a point of visiting this street. Be sure to look for the silver and black fire buckets hanging under the roofs near the street!
Historic Yanagi Machi (Willow Street) in front of An Yo Ji
Another street known for historic preserved architecture is Yanagi Machi. This panorama was taken just in front of An Yo Ji — which is also the largest wooden structure in Gifu prefecture.
This small canal is fed by the Yoshida River and is home to many large carp. Fishing is not permitted, but for 100¥ you can buy a small bag of food to feed them!
Gujo Hachiman is located where the Nagara, Kodara and Yoshida Rivers meet. Known throughout Japan for its pure fresh running water, the beautiful Yoshida River runs through the heart of the historic town centre.
In the summer, people fish for ayu, and they cool off on hot days by swimming. Local children will often be seen jumping from the 10m high bridge into the river below (tourists and visitors should not try this!)
Yoshida Riverbank between Miyagase Bashi and Shin Bashi
The clean fast running and cold Yoshida River is famous throughout Japan. This panorama was taken between Miyagase Bashi and Shin Bashi along the path of a lovely riverside walk. If you venture down beside the river be sure to wear sturdy footwear and you will be rewarded with a beautiful river view!
Yoshida River at the Mouth of the Kodara River
A view beside the Yoshida River near the mouth of the Kodara River. From here, the river flows west toward the famous Nagara River. In the winter, people fish for amago, and in spring the riverbank is lined with beautiful sakura trees in full bloom. In the summer, the riverbank is lined with people fishing for delicious ayu, while the autumn bring beautiful views of the surrounding mountains wrapped in Fall colours.
Yoshida River at the Mouth of the Kodara River in Spring
Slightly upriver and closer to the mouth of the Kodara river than the panorama above, this 360 degree panorama of the Yoshida River was taken in the Spring of 2009. Sakura trees are in full bloom on the riverbank.
Yoshida River Beside the Gujo Hachiman Tourism Association Offices
A view of the Yoshida river from beside the Gujo Hachiman Kinenkan Centre.
Early Morning View of Yoshida River from the Miyagase Bridge
An early morning view of the beautiful Yoshida River from the Miyagase Bridge. On this morning you can see out to where the Yoshida River meets the famous Nagara River and beyond to the Tokai Houkuriku highway that travels north to USENCO World Heritage site Shira Kawa Go village, and Takayama city.
An afternoon view of the spring cherry blossoms along the Yoshida River. The cherry blossoms bloom a week later than they do in Nagoya offering visitors a second chance to see these magnificent blooms. See more cherry blossoms below.
Gujo Hachiman is home to a fine feudal castle. Clearly visible from virtually anywhere in the historic town centre, the castle stands at the top of mount Hachiman overlooking the town. The original castle was built over 400 years ago, and was rebuilt in 1959. Views from the castle are especially beautiful in the autumn at the time of the Momiji Festival in November.
Gujo Hachiman Castle
Gujo Hachiman is home to a fine feudal castle that sits atop mount Hachiman. The castle can be reached on foot or by car. This panorama is a view beside Gujo Hachiman Castle looking west off the top of the mountain.
Gujo Hachiman Castle Entrance
This panorama is taken in front of the main entrance to Gujo Hachiman castle. Making the climb up the mountain well worth the effort is also the fact that from this vantage point you also get a great view of the town below, and on a clear day you can see the Tokai Houkuriku highway that takes you north to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa Go village and also to Takayama.
Gujo Hachiman Castle Autumn Colours
The best time to see the autumn colours in Gujo Hachiman is November. From early to mid-November the Momiji Festival celebrates the arrival of Autumn. One of the best places in town to see the beautiful autumn colours is at the top of Hachiman mountain. The trees surrounding the castle are ablaze with colour, and the views of the surrounding valley from the castle are perfect for autumn colour viewing! (The trees surrounding the castle are lit at night until 10:00 pm during the Momiji Festival.)
There are many temples in this small town, many more than would typically be found in a town of this size. This is one reason why Gujo Hachiman is known throughout Japan as a "Little Kyoto." Here we showcase 5 temples for your enjoyment, including a sneak peak at a traditional Japanese temple garden that is presently under re-development and not quite ready to take its rightful place on a growing list of "must see" places.
Jion Ji Temple
This small zen temple is an oasis of calm. The small but stunning garden should not be missed and can often be contemplated without the crowds common to gardens in larger urban settings. Be sure to listen for the faint but unmistakable sound of the "sui kin kutsu" or water harp. Though beautiful throughout the year, the garden is particularly spectacular in the autumn, especially in a light rain.
Dai Jo Ji Temple
Snuggled up beside a mountain, across a small bridge over the Kodara River, this small temple offers a respite from a busy day and a quiet place to contemplate the simple beauty of a single cherry tree blooming in a temple forecourt.
Cho Kyo Ji Temple
Located at the north end of historic Shokunin machi, just across the Kodara River from Dai Jo Ji temple, is Chokyo Ji Temple. An impressive wooden gate opens onto an expansive courtyard. The sakura tree in the middle of the courtyard is particularly impressive in the Spring.
Sai Sho Ji Temple Courtyard
South of the Yoshida River is Sai Sho Ji temple. This panorama is of the pine tree filled courtyard in front of the main temple building.
Sai Sho Ji Temple Garden
The garden at Sai Sho Ji is currently under re-development and not yet open to the public. This panorama is an example of a fine traditional Japanese garden under development. Many older elements from the original garden have been preserved, including the large pond and several stone lanterns.
To Sen Ji Temple
Many temples in Japan do double duty, often as schools, and To Sen Ji is no exception. Located to the north of the Yoshida River, and west of the Kordara River, To Sen ji temple is home to a pre-school and the Gujo Hachiman youth hostel.
There are many special places in Gujo Hachiman. Some are easily found and accessible by everyone, some are more difficult to find or have restricted access. The panoramas in this section are about those special places.
Gujo Hachiman Hakurankan - Gujo Odori Lessons
Every day at the Gujo Hachiman Hakurankan visitors can learn Gujo Odori. Short classes are held daily at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Admission to the Hakurankan is 500 JPY for adults and 300 JPY for children. The daily Gujo Odori lessons are included in the admission price. The interactive panorama below shows dancers performing the basic movements of the most famous and well know dances of Gujo Odori "Kawasaki".
Spring in Japan is magnificent. As soon as the last snowflake melts the anticipation of seeing cherry blossoms grips the entire country. Beginning in early March the weather report includes a cherry blossom forecast, and throughout the country "hanami", or cherry blossom viewing, parties are planned for the day the blossoms will be at their fullest. Gujo Hachiman is no exception, and the cherry trees set against the backdrop of the mountains surrounding the town make for especially beautiful cherry blossom viewing.
Just beside the Gujo Hachiman City Hall and only a short walk from the historic town centre, this park is a bit off the beaten track of well known tourist attractions but well worth the trip during cherry blossom time. Even during the height of the season, you can often find yourself alone to admire the beautiful blooms.
Gujo Hachiman Kinenkan Centre - Home to the Gujo Hachiman Tourism Association
The Gujo Hachiman Kinenkan Centre is home to the Gujo Hachiman Tourism Association. Here you can find maps and information about all the tourist attractions in town. There is also a small gift shop that sells locally made souvenirs. This panorama was taken in early April 2008 and you can see some beautiful hand-dyed indigo carp flags made by a well-known local artist and "prefectural cultural asset" Watanabe decorating the gift shop in preparation for the May 5th - Children's Day national holiday.
Private Home Inner Garden
Many traditional style homes in Gujo Hachiman follow a centuries old custom. The part of the house that faces the street is narrow and painted black or dark brown. This is slightly misleading as the house is actually very, very deep and can extend 50 metres back from the street. This custom dates back to Edo times when taxes were based on the width but not depth or overall size of houses. In the middle of these narrow and deep houses is a very private garden. Open to the sky, these gardens bring light and the four seasons into the very heart of the home.
The garden in this panorama belongs to a private home in Gujo Hachiman. The owner has asked, however to remain anonymous and that their home not be placed on the map.
Just slightly outside of the historic town centre, these special places are easily accessible by foot or city bus from the town centre.
Gujo Hachiman Station
Visitors arriving in Gujo Hachiman by train arrive at Gujo Hachiman station. The station is served by the Nagara River Railway (Nagaragawa Tetsudo) and offers a convenient, stress-free, and scenic way to get to Gujo Hachiman. The railway starts in Mino Ota (easily reached by the JR line from Nagoya) and follows the scenic Nagara River north to Gujo Hachiman. Gujo Hachiman station offers a nostalgic look at the past for travelers more familiar with the sleek new shinkansen or bullet train services.
Nagara River Railway Museum (Gujo Hachiman Station)
Travel by train in Japan is easy and convenient thanks to many local trains operated by small railway companies. Named after the famous Nagara River, the Nagara River Railway has served Gujo Hachiman faithfully for over 80 years. A small museum in Gujo Hachiman station (free entry, open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm) showcases some of the achievements of the railway, as well as some of the old technology that was used. A photograph commemorating the 1965 visit of Japan's Showa Emperor (Emperor Hirohito) to Gujo Hachiman, who traveled to Gujo Hachiman by Nagara River Railway, is also on display.
There are many interesting places to visit just slightly out of the town centre. Visiting these places may require a car or taxi ride, but it is definitely worth the trip!
About 15 minutes by car or taxi from the town centre, the Otaki caves are home to the tallest waterfall inside a cave in Japan. The visit to the caves begins with a short ride up a funicular railway to the entrance. The chamber with the waterfall shown in this panorama, has a small shrine with Buddhist carvings on the walls. These naturally formed caves maintain a steady temperature of 14 degrees Celsius - year round, making it the ideal place to visit on a hot summer day. From beginning to end, visitors can explore over 1 km of trail in the caves. Caution: You should be reasonably fit to attempt visiting these caves. Some areas are narrow and low, and the floor is constantly damp making it easy to slip. Those with claustrophobia, and/or those who have difficulty walking and/or require assistance to go up or down stairs should not plan to visit the caves.
Spring Cherry Blossoms Along the Nagara River
The Nagara River is 166 km long and one of the most famous rivers in Japan. Named as one of the "Three Clear-Flowing Rivers in Japan", the part near Gujo Hachiman was named one of "Japan's 100 Famous Waters" in 1985. Many visitors come to Gujo Hachiman to fish for ayu in the Nagara or Yoshida rivers, while many Japanese gourmets come to eat this delicious fish offered fresh and only in season in the better local restaurants. Spectacular views of this river can be seen from the Nagara River Railway on the journey from Mino Ota to Gujo Hachiman.
Cherry Blossoms at Itachizaka Pocket Park
This small roadside park, overlooking the Nagara River, can be found along National Highway 156 southbound from Gujo Hachiman, heading towards Minami. It's the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch under the cherry blossoms. The road follows the Nagara River and offers travelers a spectacular display of cherry blossoms in early April when the cherry blossoms are overly in Nagoya and cities further south.